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Walking and Noshing down Boulevard St.-Laurent?

Washington DC chowhound here and I've never been to Montreal. I have an opportunity to spend one day (a Sunday) in the city in a couple of weeks. On this trip I'm not interested in museums, galleries, shopping, parks, or amusements. I'm only interested in reasonably priced, delicious food. I want to park the car in one place and walk. Walking up to 8 miles would be no big deal for me. Of course the more I eat the less distance I can cover. From my initial research, I thought it might be a good idea to start at the Jean Talon market and then walk down the Boulevard St.Laurent toward the river. Where do the local chowhounds suggest I stop and taste on this voyage? Or is there a better direction to head? Oh yeah, unless I'm lying in the gutter in a gluttonous stupor I need to walk back to my car. Should I go back on the Rue St. Denis or is there a more interesting return?


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  1. Your route is a good one, and one that is best covered on foot alright. Your only problem is that Schwartz's and Coco Rico are too close together :)

    1. Go early at JTM (st-laurent near it) and eat, drink, feast for breakfast; and then walk down to around Laurier St. where it becomes more interresting during the day.

      on Laurier St. go west 1 block to "Les Touilleurs" a fancy-ish kitchen equipment store, and walk on laurier in that direction, then go down again on St-Laurent to continue your walk.

      From there, there are tons of nice places to eat and window-lick; from Sandwich places, to fries/poutine to portugese, Polish (east-european), ...

      1. You could also do a detour onto Parc for part of the walk and do moh's incredible bakery/espresso tour:


        St-Denis is more of a cafe- & bar- & boutique-lined "chi-chi" street than a down-home foodie street (not really a street on which to find tons of "reasonably priced, delicious food" IMO, though there are of course a few exceptions) so personally I'd say skip it. You could certainly walk down St-Laurent and come up Parc, or vice-versa.
        Have fun!

        2 Replies
        1. re: kpzoo

          It's your lucky weekend, St Laurent is closed off (from Sherbrook to past Mont Royal) for their annual Street Festival all weekend (I think it actually started yesterday). This means most of the little restaurants serve their food out in the street (yes including Schwartz), Eastern Euro sausages, Portuguese sandwiches, noodles, jerk chicken, etc...etc... is all there for the taking. Enjoy.

          I will be there tomorrow and or tonight. Let's hope the weather cooperates.

          1. re: ios94

            Good to know for us (jerk chicken - I must have some immediately!), but unfortunately the OP said they're coming "in a couple of weeks".

        2. don't forget St Laurent is closed to traffic this weekend between Mont Royal and Sherbrooke. There's loads of restos/cafes/eateries that set up grills outdoors. My faves are a little portugese place on the corner of Marie-Anne (if you're waking down st laurent its to your left, one block south from where the barriers start at Mont Royal), for the sardines and chourico. And L corridor, again on your left if you're walking south, between des Pins and Prince Arthur. Fantastic jerk chicken, patties, roties. You might be in trouble....way too much food for one day! Good luck and enjoy....it will be packed on this stretch if the weather is good.

          2 Replies
          1. re: FS4131

            This is all fantastic advice! Thank-you

            I don't want "chi-chi" so I'll walk back on Parc

            Breakfast at the JTM will get me started.

            I think I can do this without a clogged artery:

            I want something from a bakery:

            I want to try poutine:
            Patati Patata?

            I want something French and casual like for Onion Soup and/or a crepe:

            I want meat (have to chose one I guess):
            Shwartz's for smoked
            Coco Rico
            FS4131 place on the corner of Marie-Anne for Portugese

            If I die after doing this I want to know I did it right.

            1. re: soybreath

              Bakery - definitely Cocoa Local or Fous Desserts, depending on what you want (but check moh's mile-end pastry tour for more ideas...)
              Poutine - La Banquise. Patati-Patata's fries are good, but if you're only having one poutine, I'd continue walking to La Banquise.
              Crepes are best at Juliette et Chocolat (on Laurier)
              Smoked meat - Schwartz's. The other two places are chicken, but again, it depends which you'd rather have. You'll end up with clogged arteries with either choice anyways :-)

          2. Walking back along St. Denis is a good idea. I'd recommend a stop at ice cream shop Meu-Meu, on St. Denis just before Mt. Royal

            1. Or Festin de Babette for their ice creams, sorbets etc....old fashioned soft ice cream a la strawberry,pineapple,mango and pepper...mmmmm

              2 Replies
              1. re: chilipepper

                A belated and quick trip report from my one day trip.

                Started out at the Jean Market and bought strawberries (local) and raspberries (California) and then a baguette for breakfast. Walked around the market for a while. Not to sound too cliche-ess but it was a feast for the eyes. My question is that the numerous stalls had the same produce at the same prices so how does one decide which to patronize?

                Went to Scwartz's for a smoked meat sandwich which we carried out to a park. It was good but give me a Carnegie Deli or Katz's corned beef on rye any day. Maybe it was because I got a lean sandwich. I failed to specify when I ordered and I guess the lean meat is the default.

                Then we walked down to the free music at the Jazz Festival. Great music and great weather!

                Walked up to Mont Royal park and watched the tam tams, the acrobats, and jugglers. A lot of fun for the eyes. Walked up to the top of the Mont and by the time we got down we had worked up quite an appetite. Time for poutine!

                We went to La Banquise. Excellent. And I even got my health crazed wife to get the poutine with bacon. Her quote: "this is surprisingly good".

                Finally we stopped at Meu-Meu for sorbet. I had the rhubarb sorbet which was incredible. If that was all I had on this trip I still would have been a happy man.

                Overall, we calculated that we had walked about 10 miles (km?). Not bad for a couple of almost 60 year olds. The trip was great. Montreal-you are a great city.

                1. re: soybreath

                  Regarding your first question about JTM, it depends on a couple of things. First, the prices are all pretty similar because it's an open market and everyone wants to sell their produce so they have to keep witn competition. That applies especially to imported stuff which they pretty much source from the same place. Second, it depends on the quality of the produce, even if the prices are similar, quality may vary greatly from one stall to another. Third, it depends on the people who work at the stalls, some are very friendly and knowledgeable and others aren't all that nice. Some I'm on a first name basis with so I keep going back.